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10.03.19

Links 3/10/2019: PostgreSQL 12, Blender 2.81 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Best Penguin Linux Wallpapers

      Based in Southern Hemisphere, Penguins are well known for spending half of their life on the land and other half in the sea. Well these are the birds who can’t fly. But their highly adaptiveness to survive in extreme conditions is quite motivating.

      So today I’m going to share with you 50 amazing Penguin wallpapers that you can use as your Linux desktop background.

    • Kubernetes: 2019 Steering Committee Election Results

      The 2019 Steering Committee Election is a landmark milestone for the Kubernetes project. The initial bootstrap committee is graduating to emeritus and the committee has now shrunk to its final allocation of seven seats. All members of the Steering Committee are now fully elected by the Kubernetes Community.

    • SUSE

      • Paving the Road to Eirini

        At the recent Cloud Foundry Summit EU in the Netherlands, Lucas Bickel of Adfinis SyGroup and Peter Andersson of SUSE presented insight about their Cloud Foundry deployment using SUSE Cloud Application Platform for a large Swiss government office. They explained the challenges faced, the lessons learned and why SUSE Cloud Application Platform is the perfect fit to solve the customer requirements in a highly complex and demanding environment. Warning: this talk contains buzzwords such as DevOps, Cloud Native, Kubernetes, CI/CD pipeline, and other fancy stuff.

      • Stratos Project Update: The Future of the Stratos Management UI

        At the recent Cloud Foundry Summit EU in the Netherlands, Neil MacDougall and Richard Cox of SUSE presented a talk that reviewed the development of the Stratos Web-based Management UI for Cloud Foundry. They also summarized and demonstrated the new features and improvements that have been added recently. Next, they looked forward to the year ahead and discussed where we we are heading with new work on Extensions and the new features that are planned.

      • Lightning Talk: The Latest on How SUSE is Bringing Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes Together

        At the recent Cloud Foundry Summit EU in the Netherlands, Ignacio Gomez of SUSE presented a brief lightning talk explaining how SUSE continues to combine the best of the two leading open source application platforms in the industry — Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes. Through projects like Quarks, Eirini, and Stratos, SUSE is fusing the mature development model of Cloud Foundry with the advanced container scheduling capabilities of Kubernetes.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • DevNation Live Bengaluru: Apache Kafka Streams and event-driven architecture

          Our first DevNation Live regional event was held in Bengaluru, India in July. This free technology event focused on open source innovations, with sessions presented by elite Red Hat technologists.

          This tutorial, presented by Edson Yanaga, dives into events, message-oriented middleware, Apache Kafka, data streaming, and analytics to explain the fundamentals for creating a distributed, resilient, and scalable application.

          Once you understand events, messaging becomes an essential asset in your toolbox. Using an event-driven architecture on top of a message-driven architecture helps you unleash the benefits of distributed computing.

        • Deploy Red Hat AMQ Streams and Fuse on OpenShift Container Platform 4

          In the following video, I demonstrate how to deploy Red Hat AMQ Streams (based on upstream Apache Kafka) on OpenShift 4.

          I will also demonstrate how to use AMQ Streams in a basic way using Red Hat Fuse. There is a Camel route exposing a REST endpoint at /goodbye, which—when hit—sends a “Goodbye World” message to the topic. There is also a timer sending “Hello World” messages periodically to the topic. A separate Camel route consumes from the topic and logs the messages for our visibility.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E26 – Interstate ’76

        This week we’ve been tourists in our home town, we review the Dell Precision 3540 Developer Edition laptop, bring you some command line love and go over all your wonderful feedback.

        It’s Season 12 Episode 26 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Meet Alyssa Rosenzweig and Panfrost

          Panfrost is a free, open-source graphics stack for Arm Mali GPUs, focused on the popular Midgard series. While these chips are popular among Android devices, they have been historical thorns in Linux’s side, due to the closed nature of the official drivers. Panfrost aims to change that, bringing the benefits of open-source to the Mali world.

          What started out as a small community reverse-engineering effort has now matured into a reliable OpenGL ES 2.0 driver. Since May, I’ve been using Panfrost as my daily driver to program Panfrost. And yes, I’m answering these questions from a machine with Panfrost!

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 vs. Eight Linux Distributions In Various “Creator” Workloads On An Intel Core i9

        For those wondering about the current performance of desktop Linux distributions against Microsoft Windows 10 with the latest updates as we embark upon fall update season, here is a look at the performance of eight different Linux distributions compared to Windows 10. While a larger set of cross-platform tests are currently being worked on, for this article we are focusing on different “creator” workloads from video/audio encoding, render workloads, and related software prior to the larger comparison in the next week or two.

        Besides looking at creator-focused workloads for this article, some of the tests being done are the first time we are running them in a Windows vs. Linux comparison. In particular, some new OpenBenchmarking.org / Phoronix Test Suite test profiles around Intel oneAPI rendering toolkit components like Embree and Open Image Denoise.

    • Applications

      • Newsboat is a command line based RSS feed reader for Linux

        Once upon a time, there used to be a Command line based RSS feed reader called Newsbeuter, but, like many a good program it too was abandoned.

        Fortunately, another developer forked the source code and Newsboat was born. The program is quite user friendly and offers a great deal of customization options. I’m going to point out the basics to get you started with the program.

      • Blender 2.81 Release Notes

        Blender 2.81 is the next release under development.

      • Blender 2.81 In Next Phase Of Development With NVIDIA RTX Optix, Intel Open Image Denoise

        The Blender 2.81 release cycle has entered its “bcon2″ development phase of development with the focus shifting to bug fixing and stabilizing new features with now being past the initial window of merging in the big ticket items.

        This phase of development for the initial bug fixing will last about one month followed by “bcon3″ where the release branch happens and the next (Blender 2.82) release cycle kicks off for feature merging.

      • Proprietary

        • BlueMail Expands to Millions of Consumers and Businesses with Support for Linux

          Blix Inc., a leading provider of messaging solutions to consumers and businesses, today announced Linux support for its most popular product, BlueMail.

        • Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine selects MontaVista Linux for Next Generation Marine Radar

          MontaVista® Software, LLC, a leader in commercial Embedded Linux® products and services, today announced that Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine has entered into a long-term agreement with MontaVista for their Marine Radar VisionMaster Net platform.

          MontaVista will provide Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine with CGX – Carrier Grade eXpress Linux as the long-term supported operating system on the processors present in VisionMaster Net, providing network infrastructure control and services such as web interface, SNMP and device interfaces to Sperry Marine written application software. The agreement also covers joint development of software on top of the operating system.

        • 10 Things Larry Ellison Wants You to Know about Oracle Autonomous Linux

          Linux is taking on a higher-profile role in the enterprise-cloud market. Following revitalized strategies from IBM Red Hat and SUSE, Oracle chairman Larry Ellison figured it was high time to explain just how wonderful his own new version of Linux is.

          During a keynote at Oracle’s recent OpenWorld event, Ellison described in great detail the company’s new Autonomous Database and its “next-gen” cloud infrastructure. Ellison emphasized his intention to ultimately deliver a completely autonomous cloud.

          In that context, Ellison introduced Autonomous Linux. He also offered his perspectives on why this new Oracle version offers unique value to business customers.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Some thoughts on Police Stories, the recently released slower tactical top-down shooter

        Released earlier this month, Police Stories attempts to slow down the top-down shooter genre with a more tactical approach and most of the time it works quite well.

        The story here revolves around two cops, John Rimes and Rick Jones. Two old friends joined together as partners when you move to the city. Starting off from a simple call to action while on duty, things quickly spiral as you uncover links leading to something much bigger than expected.

      • Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Hunter & The Beast is now on Linux, plus The Empire Undivided update

        Feral Interactive have updated their port of Total War: WARHAMMER II for Linux to bring The Empire Undivided update and The Hunter & The Beast DLC is now supported.

        The Empire Undivided free content update is huge, so big it has a long dedicated post to it on the Total War blog. There’s masses of bug fixes and overall balance improvements but also some huge feature adjustments too. The biggest changes looks like it happened for the Mortal Empires Campaign, which is what you get free if you own both Total War: WARHAMMER and Total War: WARHAMMER II. A big territory rework with 12 new regions, huge forts to battle through and empire factions now have access to the reworked Empire tech tree. The Empire Offices system was thrown out too, replaced with a new authority system. There’s a huge amount more to it, so do take a read if you’re interested in the full details.

      • DUSK with an exclusive map and Chasm come to GOG during their big 11th anniversary celebration

        GOG has been going for just about 11 years now, so they’re having a big sale to celebrate. On top of that the retro FPS DUSK is now on GOG with an exclusive GOGATORIUM map for the endless mode and also CHASM is now on GOG too.

      • Comedy point and click adventure Angelo and Deemon: One Hell of a Quest is out

        From developer Specialbit Studio, the quirky comedy point and click adventure Angelo and Deemon: One Hell of a Quest is officially out now with Linux support.

        A case of mistaken identity results in a blogger taking an unexpected holiday to Hell, so Angelo decides to record his journey in an attempt to become a little bit more famous and get some extra clicks and likes. Something like that anyway. The Ukrainian developer doesn’t really give it a description that sells it too well.

      • Build and battle game From the Depths is officially launching this November

        Game developer Brilliant Skies sent word that their game From the Depths is getting ready to finally leave Early Access on November 7th. It’s been in Early Access since August 2014, with a Linux version arriving a bit later.

        Much like Robocraft, the design and building in From the Depths is done block by block and you can create all sorts of incredibly weird and wonderful tools of destruction. Unlike Robocraft though, From the Depths seems to have a huge amount more depth to the building and the available game modes with much bigger battles too.

      • Drawn Down Abyss mixes an action-platformer with card abilities and it’s out now

        A thoroughly odd experience this. Drawn Down Abyss from developer DaFluffyPotato looks like an ordinary pixel-art action-platform except it’s also thoroughly different due to the card-based abilities.

    • Distributions

      • Solus 4 Users Are Among the First to Use the GNOME 3.34 Desktop Environment

        The Solus Project announced today that the latest GNOME 3.34 desktop environment is now available for all users of the independently developed Linux-based computer operating system, along with many other updates and bug fixes.

        Launched in mid-September, the GNOME 3.34 desktop environment has only been available for a few GNU/Linux distributions as upgrading from a previous release looks to be a rigorous and hard process for OS vendors. Solus 4 users are now among the first to use GNOME 3.34 on their personal computers.

        “This stack upgrade has been rigorously tested by a wide range of users via our unstable repository, all of whom provided valuable feedback and reports over on our development tracker. This upgrade has also fortunately been smoother compared to previous stack upgrades,” said lead developer Joshua Strobl in the latest news roundup.

      • Fedora Family

        • Some Flatpak updates

          In 1.4.2, Flatpak gained the ability to use extra-data for extensions. This mechanism has been around for applications for a long time, but it is a new feature for extensions.

          The 19.08 version of the freedesktop runtime uses it for its new org.freedesktop.Platform.openh264 extension, which uses the Cisco openh264 builds.

          Since we are taking the ‘run everywhere’ aspect of Flatpak seriously, we’ve backported this feature from the 1.4 branch to older stable branches and released 1.2.4 and 1.0.9, so even users on very stable distributions can enjoy this new feature.

        • Calling Mentors for Google Code-in 2019

          Google Code-in (GCI) is an annual programming competition hosted by Google Inc. that allows pre-university students to complete tasks specified by various, partnering open source organizations. The contest was originally the Google Highly Open Participation Contest, but in 2010, the format was modified into its current state. Students that complete tasks win certificates and T-shirts. Each organization also selects two grand prize award winners who will earn a trip to Google’s Headquarters located in Mountain View, California.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Watch: Ubuntu Touch Running on the PinePhone Open Source Linux Smartphone

          While everyone is waiting for UBports to release the Ubuntu Touch OS for Purism’s Librem 5 Linux phone, which just stated shipping to backers last week, Marius Gripsgard and his team of skilful developers managed to port the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system to PINE64′s PinePhone.

          As you can see in the video and screenshots attached below, Ubuntu Touch runs quite smoothly on the PinePhone, an open-source Linux smartphone build by the PINE64 company, which is known for developing the PINE64 single-board computers (SBCs) and Pinebook computers.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • ROSCon Japan 2019!

          ROSCon Japan 2019 was a resounding success. We took in the keynote speech from Ryan Gariepy, Co-founder and CTO of Clearpath Robotics. We demoed the first iteration of a Robotics arm from Niryo. Our own Ted Kern gave a lightning talk on type-checked Python in ROS2, and we spoke to lots of individuals in the Japanese robotics community. Let’s talk about it.

          [...]

          Beyond all of these things, we were there to talk to the community. We wanted to know about their projects and what they are working on with ROS. We’re very thankful that our colleges in Japan were there to help with interpretation because it meant we got to speak to almost everyone at the conference. Most were already users of Ubuntu and ROS/ROS 2 and were more interested in our roadmaps and plans for ROS 2 development. But there were a surprising number of users who didn’t know about our blog, twitter or website content. Which can be found in Japanese now by the way. We told them to take a look. Each platform talks about our role in ROS development and maintaining the best Robotics security out there.

          If you’ve read this far and you’re interested in what’s going on, but you don’t know what ROSCon Japan is, let me tell you. ROSCon JP, the ROS Convention in Japan is what they call a “developer meeting” for people in the ROS community. It was a great opportunity for ROS developers across the country, from beginners to experts, to learn the latest topics and network with the broader ROS community. You can read more about the whole event on their website, ROSCon JP. This event was in Tokyo but coming up soon is the international ROS Developer Conference, ROSCon 2019. This one will be in Macau from October 31 to November 1.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 69.0.2 Released to Fix YouTube Crash on Linux, Other Issues

            Mozilla Firefox 69.0.2 is a very small maintenance update that addresses three bugs, including a crash that would occur when changing the playback speed while watching a YouTube video, which affects only Linux systems, as well as a crash that may occur when editing files on Office 365 websites.

            Additionally, Firefox 69.0.2 addresses an issue that could prevent the detection of the Windows 10 Parental Controls feature when it’s enabled. Of course, this issue only affects Windows 10 users. However, we recommend all users to update to Firefox 69.0.2 as soon as possible.

          • Introducing ECSY: an Entity Component System framework for the Web

            Today we are introducing ECSY (Pronounced “eck-see”): a new -highly experimental- Entity Component System framework for Javascript.

          • Announcing the Inside Rust blog

            Today we’re happy to announce that we’re starting a second blog, the Inside Rust blog. This blog will be used to post regular updates by the various Rust teams and working groups. If you’re interested in following along with the “nitty gritty” of Rust development, then you should take a look!

      • Databases

        • PostgreSQL 12 Released!

          The PostgreSQL Global Development Group today announced the release of PostgreSQL 12, the latest version of the world’s most advanced open source database.

          PostgreSQL 12 enhancements include notable improvements to query performance, particularly over larger data sets, and overall space utilization. This release provides application developers with new capabilities such as SQL/JSON path expression support, optimizations for how common table expression (WITH) queries are executed, and generated columns. The PostgreSQL community continues to support the extensibility and robustness of PostgreSQL, with further additions to internationalization, authentication, and providing easier ways to administrate PostgreSQL. This release also introduces the pluggable table storage interface, which allows developers to create their own methods for storing data.

          “The development community behind PostgreSQL contributed features for PostgreSQL 12 that offer performance and space management gains that our users can achieve with minimal effort, as well as improvements in enterprise authentication, administration functionality, and SQL/JSON support.” said Dave Page, a core team member of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group. “This release continues the trend of making it easier to manage database workloads large and small while building on PostgreSQL’s reputation of flexibility, reliability and stability in production environments.”

        • PostgreSQL 12 Released As Newest Update To “World’s Most Advanced Open-Source DB”

          As was anticipated, PostgreSQL 12.0 is now officially available.

          PostgreSQL 12.0 brings a variety of performance improvements, JIT compilation is enabled by default, JSON path expressions support, generated columns are now supported, internationalization improvements, and a whole lot more.

        • PostgreSQL 12 released

          Version 12 of the PostgreSQL database management system is out. “PostgreSQL 12 enhancements include notable improvements to query performance, particularly over larger data sets, and overall space utilization.

        • The Art of PostgreSQL
      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice drawing using Skia

          Now, admittedly, this looks way better than it should, as it is actually still far from finished. It is so far X11-only, using the venerable not-that-performant XPutImage(). No Windows, no Vulkan. Yet. Also, while it passes all VCL unit tests, that rather says something about the poor state of coverage of those tests, as they fail to hit any of those abort() calls I still have in a number of places. Well, maybe I should rather post the screenshot from yesterday:

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Some lessons from the MIT Media Lab controversy

          And there were other spinoff effects as well: Richard Stallman, a free-software pioneer and veteran MIT professor, also resigned, after being criticized for comments he made on an internal email list that downplayed the impact of Epstein’s sexual abuse.

        • Photoshop too expensive? Try these 5 free alternatives

          GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a downloadable, professional-grade photo editor with an extensive Photoshop-like collection of essential editing tools. In addition, GIMP boasts advanced filters and layer masks. Whether you want to add text, erase a background, or add texture to a photo, this no-cost editing software will meet your needs.

      • Programming/Development

        • File Management with AWS S3, Python, and Flask

          One of the key driving factors to technology growth is data. Data has become more important and crucial in the tools being built as technology advances. It has become the driving factor to technology growth, how to collect, store, secure, and distribute data.

          This data growth has led to an increase in the utilization of cloud architecture to store and manage data while minimizing the hassle required to maintain consistency and accuracy. As consumers of technology, we are generating and consuming data and this has necessitated the requirement of elaborate systems to help us manage the data.

          The cloud architecture gives us the ability to upload and download files from multiple devices as long as we are connected to the internet. And that is part of what AWS helps us achieve through S3 buckets.

        • Node.js VS Python: Which is Better?

          Both Node.js (majorly used as a backend framework ), and Python ( front-end and back-end programming language) are used extensively for programming of a web app. It is vital to select a suitable framework or programming language for web app development because it is the backbone of every web app.

          Node.js and Python are extensively used for this purpose. When you talk about Node.js or python,you are actually comparing JavaScript with Python. This is because Node.js is actually a framework built on Google Chrome’s JavaScript.

          Both of them are among the top programming languages according to the TOIBE index.

          Here is the list with May 2018 and May 2019 rankings.

        • How to edit a qcow2 file from C

          Suppose you want to edit or read or write the data inside a qcow2 file? One way is to use libguestfs, and that’s the recommended way if you need to mount a filesystem inside the file.

          But for accessing the data blocks alone, you can now use the libnbd API and qemu-nbd together and this has a couple of advantages: It’s faster and you can open snapshots (which libguestfs cannot do).

          We start by creating a libnbd handle and connecting it to a qemu-nbd instance. The qemu-nbd instance is linked with qemu’s internal drivers that know how to read and write qcow2.

        • PicoLibC is a Lightweight C library for Embedded Systems

          Well-known developer, Keith Packard has recently announced the launch of “picolibc” through his blog.

        • 2019.3 EAP 4

          This week’s Early Access Program (EAP) for PyCharm 2019.3 is available now! Download it from our website.

        • Bring in the WhiteNoise, Bring in Da Funk – Building SaaS #34

          In this episode, we added WhiteNoise to the app as a tool for handling static assets. This lets us move away from depending on Nginx for the task and gives shiny new features like Brotli support.

        • A fast and thread-safe pool allocator for Qt – Part 2

          In part 1 of this blog series, we developed a pool allocator that is optimized for small allocations. We confirmed that we do that a lot in Qt when we allocate QEvent or QObject instances, and a specialized allocator might be useful for application developers as well. So far, our solutions will allocate complete pages of memory as needed, and hand out memory chunks of a fixed size that is specified at compile time through a template parameter. It supports different threading models, with different tradeoffs regarding performance, memory efficiency, and concurrency. The results were giving us a very promising performance, beating the general-purpose allocators by a factor of 3-10 in our multi-threaded benchmarks.

          However, with an allocator that can only handle one chunk-size, and never returns memory back to the operating system, we still have a way to go before we can really support our QEvent and QObject use cases within Qt. We can’t just make our library waste and hog memory, or require application developers to reimplement operator new/delete to be able to allocate instances of their larger subclasses!

        • KDE & Qt Applications and High DPI Displays with Scaling

          In the past, most displays had (or the OS pretended to have) around 96 PPI, more or less.

          If you differed a bit and had too small/large UI elements, you mostly just resized your default font size a bit and were kind of happy.

          In the last years, more and more displays arise that have a much higher PPI values, which allows for e.g. very crisp rendering of text.

          I arrived late in that era for my Linux machines by now starting to use two 163 PPI displays.

          Just tweaking your fonts doesn’t help here, all other things will still be unbearable small, even if you in addition increase e.g. icon sizes.

          A solution for this is the current trend to just “scale” your UI by some factor, for my displays some factor of 1.5 leads to the most pleasant sizes.

        • dup2 System Call in C

          The dup2() system function is used to create a copy of an existing file descriptor. In Linux, there are 3 standard file descriptors. They are:
          stdin: This is the standard input file descriptor. It is used to take input from the terminal by default. scanf(), getc() etc functions uses stdin file descriptor to take user inputs. The stdin file descriptor is also represented by the number 0.

          stdout: This is the standard output file descriptor. It is used to print something to the console/terminal by default. The widely used printf() function uses stdout to print your desired output to the console/terminal. The stdout file descriptor is also represented by the number 1.

          stderr: This is the standard error file descriptor. It does the same thing as the stdout file descriptor. The stderr file descriptor is used to print error messages on the console/terminal. The only difference is if you use stderr file descriptor to print the error messages, and stdout file descriptor to print normal outputs, then you can later separate them. For example, you can redirect the error messages to a file and normal outputs to the console or another file. The stderr file descriptor is also represented by the number 2.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Adversarial Interoperability

          “Interoperability” is the act of making a new product or service work with an existing product or service: modern civilization depends on the standards and practices that allow you to put any dish into a dishwasher or any USB charger into any car’s cigarette lighter.

          But interoperability is just the ante. For a really competitive, innovative, dynamic marketplace, you need adversarial interoperability: that’s when you create a new product or service that plugs into the existing ones without the permission of the companies that make them. Think of third-party printer ink, alternative app stores, or independent repair shops that use compatible parts from rival manufacturers to fix your car or your phone or your tractor.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Thursday

        Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel), Debian (jackson-databind, libapreq2, and subversion), Fedora (glpi, memcached, and zeromq), openSUSE (rust), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (patch), and SUSE (dovecot23, git, jasper, libseccomp, and thunderbird).

      • Coders’ Rights Are At Risk in Brazil, and the Harms Could Affect Everyone

        A bill pending in the Brazilian Senate (PLS 272/2016) amends the current anti-terrorism law to make it a “terrorist act” to interfere with, sabotage or damage computer systems or databases in order to hinder their operation for a political or ideological motivation. Publicly praising such actions, or other ill-defined terrorism offenses, could lead to a penalty for up to eight years in prison, according to the same bill. Earlier this year, EFF criticized a set of Brazilian “anti-terrorism” bills that seriously threaten  free expression and privacy safeguards. PLS 272/2016 is one of them. Now, the new rapporteur appointed in the Senate’s Constitutional Commission is expected to convene a public hearing and release a new report.

        Among other key concerns, Brazilian human rights groups have stressed that the bill unduly expands terrorism offenses to frame acts that are already addressed by existent criminal law – targeting them for harsher, disproportionate, penalties. Praising or inciting crime and breaking into computer devices are already illegal under the Brazilian Criminal Code. But if the bill passes, actions similar to those could receive a sentence ten times higher or more.  

      • O.MG! Evil Lightning cable about to hit mass distribution

        Remember the O.MG cable? Back in February, we covered its early development: A project by self-taught electronics hacker _MG_, it’s a malicious Lightning cable that looks just like the regular overpriced piece of wire that connects your iPhone to a computer.

      • Good cybersecurity comes from focusing on the right things, but what are they?

        If you think that’s easy for him to say, consider his education and employment twists and turns before getting into technology and, ultimately, into cybersecurity: he was an art and design student, then a Marine, and later an UPS truck loader.

        While doing that last job and hating it, he decided that there was no personal sacrifice too big to make a total life change. So, he spent a summer sleeping on his brother’s couch, consuming every Unix and TCP/IP book he could find, until he landed a junior system administrator job.

        Several generous mentors and more than a few lucky breaks later, he moved into cyber defense as a security analyst and rose up through the ranks. During his tenure in cybersecurity, he has built and run security operations teams at the White House, the Pentagon, global managed security service providers, and various other organizations in the public and private sectors.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Appalling Disregard for Civilians’: Amnesty Investigation Details How US Military Killed Innocent Farmers in Somalia

        “Three civilian men died agonizing deaths while their families are left questioning why the U.S. military targeted and killed them.”

      • A small price to pay for Tripoli Between 10 and 35 Russian mercenaries have been killed in the Libyan Civil War. We identified several of them.

        Last week, the bodies of the first Russians killed in Libya’s civil war started arriving back home for burial. Officially, Russia isn’t part of the fighting in North Africa, which has been ongoing for several years now. In reality, however, Russian combatants have been providing massive support to one side in the conflict, in exchange for which Moscow’s Libyan allies have promised “oil, railways, and highways.” Meduza investigative journalist Liliya Yapparova has learned that an infamous Russian private military company has suffered dozens of casualties in Libya. She also found some of the mercenaries’ names despite efforts to keep that information secret: even the mercenaries’ bodies are being withheld.

      • We’re on a Hypersonic Arms Race to Hell

        Hypersonic weapons close in on their targets at a minimum speed of Mach 5, five times the speed of sound or 3,836.4 miles an hour. They are among the latest entrants in an arms competition that has embroiled the United States for generations, first with the Soviet Union, today with China and Russia. Pentagon officials tout the potential of such weaponry and the largest arms manufacturers are totally gung-ho on the subject. No surprise there. They stand to make staggering sums from building them, especially given the chronic “cost overruns” of such defense contracts — $163 billion in the far-from-rare case of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

      • Protests Escalate in Iraq: 9 Dead, Hundreds Wounded

        At least seven people were killed and dozens were wounded in clashes that spread across several Iraqi provinces on Wednesday as security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas for the second day to disperse anti-government protesters demanding jobs, improved services and an end to corruption.

      • A Step Toward Protecting Civilians from Bombing and Shelling

        The dangers from explosive weapons used in populated areas were the focus of a two-day international conference that concluded today in Vienna, Austria.

    • Environment

      • Oil Companies Sued by Baltimore Face Discovery in State Court

        A federal appellate judge ruled that Baltimore’s climate liability suit will proceed in state court, rejecting a motion by more than two dozen fossil fuel defendants to halt the suit while they try to convince the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that the case belongs in federal court.

      • Will Rail Be Key to Exporting Canada’s Tar Sands Oil to the World?

        Several recent developments in the rail arena are setting up the tar sands industry to realize those plans in a major way.

      • We’re Just Starting to Learn How Fracking Harms Wildlife
      • Nuclear war could ruin Earth and leave only losers

        As the potential for nuclear war in Asia hots up, scientists have chilling news for those far from the battleground: we will all suffer.

      • Drought may hit half world’s wheat at once

        Wheat yields could be hit by severe drought across half the world at once, driving up prices and making problems for global markets.

      • “Sea Levels Are Rising and So Are We!”

        Look what Greta started and what she did to me! I took part in the recent climate-strike march in New York City — one of a quarter-million people (or maybe 60,000) who turned out there, along with four million others across all seven continents. Then I came home and promptly collapsed. Which tells you one thing: I’m not 16 years old like Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who almost singlehandedly roused a sleeping planet and is now described as “the Joan of Arc of climate change.” Nor am I the age of just about any of the demonstrators I stopped to chat with that afternoon, however briefly, while madly scribbling down their inventive protest signs in a little notebook.

      • ‘No Winners on a Dead Earth’: Why We Need a Climate Leader in 2020

        We know that election year 2020 is important, but we have scarcely begun to grasp the epic depth of what we must set in motion by the end of next year if there is to be realistic hope for a human future.

      • Despite ‘Enormous Potential’ as Carbon Sink, Australia’s Damaged Coastal Ecosystems Spewing Millions of Tons of CO2

        “Australia is in a position to take a leading role in developing policies to offset greenhouse gas emissions which can then be implemented around the world.”

      • I Climate Strike Because This Is Zero Hour

        As a seventeen-year-old, I—like many young people—find my youth dedicated to the fight for climate justice. Being the first American generation in my family—who immigrated from Kingston, Jamaica—the climate crisis is something that directly affects my community.

      • The Fight to Stop the Climate Crisis is Local

        I participated in the historical week of Global Climate Strikes, where an estimated 7.6 million people took to the streets across the world to demand real action on climate. In New York City on September 20th, I was among 250,000 people, including youth, elders, parents, teachers, scientists, workers, unions, faith leaders and more. It was incredible.

      • Energy

        • Pacific Ocean oil dumping: Feds file criminal charges against company, engineer; case solved thanks to whistleblower

          In February, the 16,408-ton oil tanker Zao Galaxy traveled under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the San Francisco Bay, eventually docking in Richmond, where it was due for an inspection. U.S. Coast Guard officials boarded the ship, for what was a routine overview until a crew member slipped them a note.

          The note contained the words “magic pipe” and “damage marine environment.” When the inspectors began conducting interviews, they uncovered what authorities describe as a scheme to dump oily waste into the Pacific Ocean through a pipe that some onboard tried to conceal.

          On Tuesday, the investigation reached its head. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of Northern California filed criminal charges against the companies, FGL Moon Marshall Limited, Unix Line Pte. Ltd., as well as Gilbert Fajardo Dela Cruz, an engineer aboard the ship.

          The charges allege deliberate pollution of the ocean, obstruction of justice, and aiding and abetting criminal activity. If convicted, the company faces potential fines totaling more than $1 million, and Dela Cruz could be imprisoned for up to 20 years.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Australian State’s Proposed Ag-Gag Law Threatens General Right To Protest, Critics Warn

        Ag-gag laws usually claim to be about protecting farmers from animal activists. But trespass laws already do that quite effectively. In reality, ag-gag laws are mostly about preventing activists from gathering photographic evidence of the poor conditions in which animals are kept on some farms. Techdirt has written a number of stories about ag-gag laws in the US, and how they are being ruled unconstitutional. Now it seems that Australia is intent on bringing in ag-gag laws in response to an upsurge in animal rights activism in the country. Australian politicians have been getting vocal on the topic for a while. Back in April, Australia’s Prime Minister called the activists “green collared criminals”. In May, Western Australia’s attorney general told journalists:

      • Devin Nunes Sues Again; He REALLY Doesn’t Want You To Read This Article About His Family’s Cow Farm In Iowa

        Devin Nunes is on quite a roll with stifling free speech. The Congressman, who once co-sponsored a bill discouraging frivolous lawsuits and also voted for a House Amendment saying that free speech should be protected, has been filing a whole bunch of lawsuits that appear to serve no purpose other than to stifle free speech — mainly free speech that criticizes Devin Nunes. Back when he filed the first of these suits (against satirical Twitter accounts, among others), we noted that he seemed particularly mad about an article by Ryan Lizza in Esquire trying to track down details about the Nunes’ family’s dairy farm, which is not in California where Nunes’ Congressional district is, but in Iowa. Lizza noticed that Nunes appeared to go to great lengths to not have the public realize that his family’s dairy farm (which is a big part of his bio) up and left California. The article is entitled Devin Nunes’s Family Farm Is Hiding a Politically Explosive Secret and it is absolutely worth reading, in part because Devin Nunes really doesn’t want you to read it. But also, in part, because it had paragraphs like this:

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Privacy Allies File Amicus Briefs in Support of EFF’s Jewel v. NSA Case

        Organizations raising concerns about mass surveillance, secrecy, and the Fourth Amendment, among other issues, have filed amicus briefs in support of EFF’s Jewel v. NSA case, currently pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals is set to review the District Court’s decision, which dismissed the case and effectively gave the government the power to decide whether Americans can seek judicial review of mass domestic national security surveillance. EFF filed its brief on September 6. 

        The six amicus briefs described below cover a wide number of issues, helping flesh out a fuller story of why the case was improperly dismissed.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Nobody Had To Die: A Jury Finally Decided It Was Unreasonable For A Cop To Kill An Innocent Black Man

        In “a seismic shift” in a criminal injustice system that’s long seen police get away with shooting black men and women, a Dallas jury found former cop Amber Guyger guilty of murder for killing Botham Jean, 26, a literal choir boy who “loved God (and) loved everyone” after she mistakenly barged into his apartment as he ate ice cream and watched TV.

      • How Dehumanizing Language Fuels Mass Incarceration

        The late Eddie Ellis was a leading voice in the movement for human rights, as both the founder for the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions and an internationally recognized scholar on prison policy. Imprisoned for a quarter-century (on a charge for which he maintained his innocence), Ellis earned two Associates Degrees, a Bachelor of Science degree, and a Masters Degree

      • With Pompeo’s Refusal to Obey Subpoena, Trump Administration ‘Actively Obstructing the Impeachment Inquiry’

        “You don’t get to work for Donald Trump, and then whine about ‘bullies.’”

      • ‘Unbelievable’: Snowden Calls Out Media for Failing to Press US Politicians on Inconsistent Support of Whistleblowers

        The comment followed a new Justice Department filing that claims a whistleblower engaged in “thievery, not protected speech” when allegedly leaking classified information on the U.S. drone operations…

      • U.N.: Haiti Unrest Harming Hospitals, Orphanages, Students

        The operation dubbed “Find Jovenel Moïse” organized by opposition leaders demanding the resignation of Haiti’s president ended abruptly when he appeared at the National Palace early this week following violent protests in which several people were killed.

      • Colombia Diary: Under Heavy Manners

        In Colombia as elsewhere, the commodification of higher education has led to widespread systemic corruption, and on September 23, students from the Universidad Distrital in Bogotá took to the streets to protest an egregious case of embezzlement, in which, according to the Attorney General’s Office, a professor used the university’s Institute for Outreach to enrich himself. The professor has since turned state’s evidence in exchange for a lighter sentence, implicating top university officials, civil servants, and local authorities.

      • Labour Party Annual Conference Interrupted By Supreme Court’s Decision On Boris Johnson’s Suspension Of Parliament

        I was attending the 2019 Labour Party conference as a member-delegate when proceedings on the third day of the conference were interrupted at 10.30am by the televised announcement of the UK’s Supreme Court decision on Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament.

      • Challenging Nicholas Kristof’s Claim of “Thousands More Jeffrey Epsteins”

        On September 14th, Nicholas Kristof’s NYT column was titled “Thousands More Jeffrey Epsteins Are Still Out There: They operate with impunity, continuing to sexually exploit children.”

      • Eastern Germans Voting Nazism, Again!

        In September 2019, two Eastern German states –Brandenburg and Saxony– held elections. Germany’s right-wing extremist party, the AfD, tripled its previous result in Saxony (from 9.7% to 27.5%) and doubled its earlier outcome in Brandenburg (from 12.2% to 23.5%). The next state election is scheduled for Thuringia (27th October 2019) – home of AfD-Führer Björn Höcke. According to the latest opinion poll, the AfD is set to receive 25% in Thuringia. This will be well below Hitler’s NSDAP receiving 42.5% at the Thuringia state election on 31st July 1932. With recent results, the AfD has decisively increased its ranks to be a 25% party in the Eastern region of Germany and a 12% party in the Western region.

      • Mali: Detainee Restraints Causing Grievous Injuries

        Some Malian military units are using a method to restrain detainees during counterterrorism operations that has led to amputations and other serious injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. The Defense Ministry should urgently adopt international standards for treating prisoners and end the abusive practice, which amounts to torture or other cruel and inhuman treatment.

      • Russia Jails Crimean Tatar Blogger on Bogus ‘Terrorism’ Charges

        A Russian military court today sentenced activist and blogger Nariman Memedeminov to two and a half years in prison for “making public calls for terrorism.” The prosecution was just the latest in the government’s relentless persecution of Crimean Tatar activists.

      • Court Tells Man $172 Red Light Camera Ticket Is Actually Less Than $100 And Can’t Be Challenged In Court

        Adding to the body of evidence showing that the use of traffic cameras is purely about revenue generation is this report from The Newspaper, which points out (yet again) how these systems are designed to eliminate due process and hasten the collection of fines and fees.

      • Did Rudy Giuliani Nullify His Attorney-Client Protections?

        Rudy Giuliani received a subpoena this week from House Democrats as part of their impeachment inquiry. He wasn’t happy about it. In a tweet on Monday, Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, accused the Democratic committee chairs of having “prejudged this case.” He asserted that the subpoena, which seeks “all documents and communications” about Giuliani’s repeated forays into the world of Ukrainian law enforcement and politics, raises “constitutional and legal issues” including “attorney client and other privileges.”

        At first blush, it’s a reasonable position. The attorney-client privilege shields confidential communications between a lawyer and his client so long as they pertain to seeking or providing legal advice. Giuliani is an attorney; the president is his client. With a number of exceptions, lawyers do not have to reveal anything about conversations with their clients.

      • Bulgaria: Human Rights Group Under Threat

        Bulgaria’s prosecutor general should reject a call from a political party in the country’s governing coalition to disband the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), Human Rights Watch said today. The party has been in legal battles for years with the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee over its stance on anti-discrimination issues.  

      • Guinea: Crackdown on Right to Protest

        The government of Guinea has effectively banned street protests for more than a year, citing threats to public security, Human Rights Watch said today. Local authorities have prohibited at least 20 political or other demonstrations. Security forces have tear gassed those who defy the ban, and arrested dozens of demonstrators. 

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Nonprofit TV Service Locast Accuses Big Four Broadcasters Of Collusion

        Locast, a New York based non profit that offers viewers access to over the air (OTA) broadcasts via the internet, has accused the big four broadcast networks of colluding to restrict consumer access to those broadcasts. As we noted recently, Locast was custom built to test the copyright legal minefiled created in the wake of the Aereo ruling, which made made numerous dubious assumptions and provided zero guidance for companies that wanted to enter the space but comply with the law. Enter former FCC lawyer and media executive David Goodfriend, who effectively created Locast specifically in the hopes the industry would sue.

      • Comcast Apparently Feels Qualified To Give Google Lectures On Monopoly Power

        For several years the telecom sector has been quietly trying to spur additional regulation of Silicon Valley. Why? As giants like AT&T and Comcast increasingly push into the online advertising arena, they’re keen on having competitors saddled with regulation, while they successfully eliminate oversight of their own problematic monopolies. Given the FCC (now headed by a former Verizon lawyer) just effectively neutered itself at telecom lobbyist behest while the DOJ (now headed by a former Verizon lawyer) goes the extra mile to vilify Facebook, you’d have to consider the gambit fairly successful so far.

    • Monopolies

      • CJEU rules that an intermediary can be ordered to remove content identical and equivalent to that found illegal, also worldwide

        How far can the removal obligations of an online intermediary go without breaching the no general monitoring obligation in Article 15 of the E-commerce Directive? Can an intermediary be ordered to remove content worldwide? And what can be the personal (original user and other users) and material (identical and equivalent content) scope of an injunction to remove content?

        These were the important (and complex) questions at the heart of the referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Glawischnig-Piesczek, C-18/18.

        [...]

        With regard to equivalent information, Article 15(1) would not preclude a host provider from being ordered to search and identify such information in relation to the user who initially disseminated the illegal piece of information. A host provider would be also required to remove equivalent information disseminated by other users when awareness resulted from a notification made by the concerned person, third parties or another source.

        As explained in the Opinion, ‘identical’ content means both precise manual reproductions of the information, which a court or competent authority has characterized as illegal, and automated reproductions, made through the ‘share’ function on the platform run by the intermediary targeted by the injunction.

        The notion of ‘equivalent’ content is more ambiguous, also because the referring court failed to define it. However, the AG assumed that this concept would relate to “information that scarcely diverges from the original information or to situations in which the message remains essentially unaltered”, that is “a reproduction of the information that was characterised as illegal containing a typographical error and a reproduction having slightly altered syntax or punctuation constitutes ‘equivalent information’. It is not clear, however, that the equivalence referred to in the second question does not go further than such cases.”

        With regard to the territorial scope of such injunction, the AG noted that international or EU law does not prohibit orders to remove information worldwide per se. In principle, a national court may adjudicate on the worldwide removal of information disseminated through the internet, in accordance with public and private international law. However, respect of both proportionality and international comity require that any resulting removal obligation does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the protection of the injured person.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • USAA E-Check Patents Not Eligible For CBM Review: PTAB

          The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Tuesday refused to review three USAA check deposit patents, finding that the patents fell into an exclusion for covered business method review that has frustrated Federal Circuit judges and is the subject of a Supreme Court appeal.

          PTAB was deciding requests for CBM review brought by Wells Fargo, which has been accused of infringement but said claims in the patents are invalid because they are either anticipated or would have been obvious.

        • Ex parte Decisions have been Updated on Anticipat [Ed: Anticipat is so defunct that today, for the first time in months, it wrote something. PTAB IPRs ignored by them, instead they focus on “ex parte”.]

          We have been analyzing ex parte decisions at the PTAB for many years now. So for every day, we can see the decisions that have been imported from the USPTO. This came in handy a few months ago when USPTO personnel told us that they completed a migration of all ex parte PTAB decisions to a modernized webpage. While we were excited for this new functionality (including a RESTful API), we started noticing abnormalities in the data.

        • Athena v. Mayo: Whither Diagnostic Method Patents

          The invention process in this case started with the reality that the biological cause of Myasthenia gravis (MG) could be identified for only about 80% of patients. The inventors here discovered that a substantial portion of those “unknown cause” patients generated autoantibodies to “muscle-specific tyrosine kinase” (MuSK). MuSK was previously known as a naturally occurring human protein. Although the autoantibodies to MuSK were not previously known, but do naturally occur in individuals with the condition. The key discovery of the inventors is the link between the autoantibodies and the particular form of MG. Under Mayo v. Prometheus, that link is an unpatentable law of nature.

          After discovering the link, the researchers designed and then patented a method of finding those MuSK antibodies to help diagnose the particular form of MG. Since the autoantibodies were not easy to directly detect, the claims requires that a lab first tag MuSK proteins with a radio-label (such as Iodine-125) and then mix the proteins with body fluid. If the autoantibody is present in the fluid then it should bind with the tagged-MuSK. At that point, you immunoprecipitate any antibody/MuSK complex and look for the label in the precipitate. The patent explains that these steps are well known in the art – “Iodination and immunoprecipitation are standard techniques in the art.” However, they had never been done with MuSK and its autoantibody. At that tight level of granularity, these steps could be called “a series of specific chemical steps never previously performed” as they were in the petition.

          If you think that Myriad Genetics might provide insight to this case, it will also be important to recognize that radio-labeling MuSK actually creates a new molecules — “novel man-made molecules.”

      • Trademarks

        • ‘Gross Domestic Product’: How Street Artist Banksy Turned Bizarre Trademark Dispute Into Fundraiser for Migrant Rescue Ship

          “The proceeds from these products will go towards buying a new migrant rescue boat…So you may well be committing a criminal offense by purchasing them.”

        • We all recognize the mark “Uber”, but is it a strong brand?

          What do we make of a mark that has broad name recognition but struggles commercially? Stated otherwise, what is the relationship between trademark awareness and brand strength? Take the case of the Uber company: Is the “Uber’ mark widely recognized? The answer is– “yes”. Is “Uber” a strong brand? The answer is—(maybe) “no”.

          Let’s start with the public’s awareness of the “Uber” mark. This Kat believes that he is on firm ground in saying that the mark and name have become widely recognized, both in the country of its establishment, the U.S, as well as abroad. Indeed, it is often used as a virtual synonym for the business of the sharing, or “gig” economy (as in when reference is made, with a whiff of genericness, to a business as the “Uber of [choose your sector]“).

        • Standard Chartered talks IP strategy for fintech and sports sponsorship

          Given the recent success of Liverpool Football Club, the winners of the 2019 Champions League final, we had a timely catch up with Nigel King – he heads up the IP team at Standard Chartered, the football club’s main sponsor…

      • Copyrights

        • [Guest post] Paris Court on digital exhaustion and videogames

          The judgment of the Paris Court of First Instance is based on both the [2001/29] InfoSoc Directive and the [2009/24] Software Directive. General conditions preventing resale were found null and void.

          The CJEU Grand Chamber will soon clarify whether the copyright exhaustion rule applies to downloaded works protected by the InfoSoc Directive, and can thus be resold. That decision will come none too soon, because 7 human years (i.e. 44 cat years) have passed since the same Grand Chamber upheld in UsedSoft that downloaded software is indeed subject to that copyright exhaustion (aka first-sale) doctrine in the EU/EEA.

          AG Szpunar has delivered his long-awaited opinion on the topic in the CJEU Tom Kabinet case on 10 September [Katpost here]. In line with the majority of German courts, he concluded that in current EU law, there is no place for second-hand downloadable e-books. Exactly one week after the AG’s opinion was published, the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris (Paris Court of First Instance) rules that a videogame distribution platform should entitle its subscribers to resell the games they paid for. The platform owners expressed their intention to appeal.

        • RIAA Reports Telegram to US Govt. Over Piracy Concerns

          The RIAA has submitted its most recent overview of “notorious markets” to the U.S. Government. As usual, the music industry group lists various torrent sites, download portals and stream-ripping sites as direct threats. This year, however, the messaging app Telegram is also highlighted as a problem.

        • Copyright Troll Attorney Again Hit With Sanctions For Being A Shitty Lawyer

          I’m not sure how copyright troll rep Richard Liebowitz is still finding work. The prolific filer of questionable lawsuits has been dinged by court after court, and yet somehow rights holders still think he’s worth hiring to go after anyone found in reverse image search results.

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